Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Tuesday that the fact that Serbian citizens “do not want to see reality” is a major hurdle for resolving the Kosovo problem and estimated that dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina has never been farther away and that it cannot be said that the two sides are any closer to an accord.
“It seems that it is easier for us [the Serbs] to bury our heads in the sand like ostriches, to tell tales. But I have no problem with either that or with listening to Albanian tales”, Vucic told TV Prva, adding that Serbs and Albanians “have seemingly grown up listening to fairy tales” and that this is clearly “immanent to both nations”.
Vucic said he doubts the dialogue would resume soon but, contradicting himself, he added he expects that the European Union will be making “fresh progress and attempts” in April to move things forward.
Vucic said that, leaving aside the position of Kosovo Albanians and the West which supports them, what bothers him the most is the fact that there is a lack of understanding in Serbia about what goes on in Kosovo”.
“When I ask: ‘What are those red lines’ [for Serbia] and what is it that we should be understanding, no one is able to give me an answer”, he said.
Vucic said he cannot understand what is in the heads of those in Serbia who think that the only possible solution is to discontinue all talks”.
“What is the alternative to negotiations? Do we want war? And even if we do, we will ultimately have to negotiate. What’s the idea here?” he said.
No more frozen conflicts: Vucic said when one asks those opposing an accord with Albanians what would be a solution for Kosovo, no one is able to give any answer other than “frozen conflict”.
“Stop saying nonsense. There are no more frozen conflicts. What kind of frozen conflict is it if someone invades [mining and smelting complex] Trepca tomorrow, [artificial lake and hydropower plant] Gazivode, sets up their own administration [in these companies]”, he said.
Vucic said that Serbia cannot leave the Serbs remaining in Kosovo at the mercy and added he stated on numerous occasions that Serbia will know how to respond if these Serbs are threatened.
“I made clear what we will do and we will do it. If Pristina launches an action, we will respond to it. This is why it [Pristina] is not taking any action. But what else can we do if not talk? We don’t have a choice, although right now, we are not talking to anyone”, Vucic declared.
He said he “does not know what to tell the Serbian Parliament MPs ”regarding the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, as “they have already heard and seen everything”.
He reiterated that the problem cannot be resolved with Serbia’s recognition of Kosovo independence within the present borders and that this will not happen.
“That is impossible”, Vucic said.
Germany expects Serbia to show restraint: Germany expects restraint, and Serbia will react calmly as much as possible, Vucic declared on the occasion of discussions held on Monday evening with advisers of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Jan Hecker, and Matthias Luttenberg.
“I confirmed that Serbia will react with composure and restraint as much as possible”, Vucic told TV Prva.
He said he expects that, following the visit of German officials, additional pressure will be exerted on Pristina to lift taxes, but added that “he does not believe this will happen soon”.
“Those who introduced taxes feel they have strong internal political support. The platform that they have brought is very poor and I acquainted my German interlocutors with Serbia’s position that this platform is so bad that I don’t see how it might improve in the future”, he explained.
Vucic described as “logical” the answer to the question why Serbia hasn’t come up with a platform of its own.
“If you want to talk to someone, you don’t nail down the topic because it’s difficult to pull out the nail afterward”, he said.
Serbia would already be EU member had it accepted Kosovo partition: Serbia would have been member of the EU today had it accepted the idea of demarcation as a solution for Kosovo, as proposed by former President of FR Yugoslavia and writer Dobrica Cosic several decades ago and then by former Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic after 2000, Vucic declared.
Vucic told RTS that Serbia had had much more in Kosovo at the time Cosic and Djindjic spoke about this than it has today.
He said that “during Cosic’s times” who was FRY President from 1992 to 1993, Serbia had police and army control in Kosovo, and during Djindjic’s time, Kosovo still hadn’t declared independence nor had the International Court of Justice rendered the opinion that the declaration of independence is not in breach of international law, and the borders have not yet been established.
“Today, we are in a much more difficult situation but, all of a sudden, we want to obtain much more. This is because people are completely irresponsible…”, Vucic declared.
He said Cosic and Djindjic had “much more in their hands” but were both rational and understood what was going on and they offered something, which the Serbs naturally “rebuffed with indignation”, although they might have had a better solution at the time.
“Had we accepted the idea the first time Cosic presented it, we would have been in the EU by now. Today, I would have been able to say without a doubt that Volkswagen will invest in Serbia, but chances for that are slim in comparison to EU countries because we are not a member and we still have the Kosovo problem on our hands”, Vucic declared.